The Cracker Queen - Lauretta Hannon  

  A Memoir of  a Jagged, Joyful Life

00 Minutes

Great Aunt Martha seemed perfect until the two-foot string of cheese got stuck to the tip of her nose at the Italian restaurant. The mozzarella trailed her animated head movements like a bad dance partner. What’s worse--she was oblivious and continued to lead the table discussion. It had already been a memorable meal--earlier a waiter served a flambé behind us that incinerated Daddy’s neck hair.

Normally the sight of nose cheese would be hilarious, but because I adored Aunt Martha as an Immortal, it was heartbreaking, irrefutable proof that she was human after all. Still, she was unlike any other human I’d known. She laughed freely and had a knack for making others feel important and alive. She lived with boundless verve and humor. An intellectual and a devout Catholic, but she hadn’t an ounce of pretense or religious baggage.

Aunt Martha would have been a standout in any family. But against the backdrop of Mama’s relatives, some of whom were literally only a generation removed from eating clay, Aunt Martha was a supernova.

With Great Aunt Martha (at right), my role model for living joyfully

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